As you know, I’ve been an Agatha Christie fan since my teen years. I’ve read them all at least once and am now rereading them in publication order. When I saw that Agatha Christie’s family had okayed a new set of novels with her name on them and using Hercule Poirot as the main detective, I was very skeptical. I skipped the first book in the new series, but I did read some rather complimentary reviews. So, when I had the chance to join the TLC Book Tour for this second hook, I decided to give it a try. First, let me share what the book is about and then I’ll give you my thoughts
“What I intend to say to you will come as a shock…”
With these words, Lady Athelinda Playford — one of the world’s most beloved children’s authors — springs a surprise on the lawyer entrusted with her will. As guests arrive for a party at her Irish mansion, Lady Playford has decided to cut off her two children without a penny . . . and leave her vast fortune to someone else: an invalid who has only weeks to live.
Among Lady Playford’s visitors†are two strangers: the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard. Neither knows why he has been invited — until Poirot begins to wonder if Lady Playford expects a murder.†But why does she seem so determined to provoke a killer?†And why — when the crime is committed despite Poirot’s best efforts to stop it — does the identity of the victim make no sense at all? (from the publisher)
I was surprised at how good this story was. It still has the feel of a Christie novel, but somehow feels updated. The best news is that it is just as intricate a plot and is just as abundant with characters as what Dame Agatha created.
The first change that I liked is the addition of Inspector Edward Catchpool, the Scotland Yard detective who is the narrator. He’s a good friend of Hercule Poirot so that allows for dialogue about the story between the two detectives. Catchpool has fun little side comments about various things that I found humorous and insightful. He makes for a very good sidekick for Poirot – almost as good as Hastings.
In my opinion, Agatha Christie excels at “country houseparty” mysteries. However, I must admit that the new author, Sophie Hannah, also excelled. In this novel Ms. Hannah had a total of eleven houseparty guests plus servants. They could all, with two or three exceptions, have conceivably committed the murder. It made it very difficult, for at least this reader, to figure out who was guilty, how it happened and why. For mystery lovers, that’s a good thing.
One more good thing I liked about Closed Casket was the ending. Agatha Christie almost always had the final “reveal” in the drawing room with Hercule Poirot doing the honors. I loved that Ms. Hannah stayed with tradition. It was absolutely spot-on, as someone in England might say. It couldn’t have ended better.
I’m happy to recommend this book to my fellow Christie fans as well as mystery lovers everywhere. My next move is to go back and read the first book Sophie Hannah wrote for this series, The Monogram Murders.
About Sophie Hannah:
Sophie Hannah is the New York Times-bestselling author of numerous psychological thrillers, which have been published in 27 countries and adapted for television, as well as The Monogram Murders, the first Hercule Poirot novel authorized by the estate of Agatha Christie.
Thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book and to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of it all. To see other stops on the book tour, visit the schedule here: Sophie Hannah Book Tour Schedule